To gain insight into the processes by which acetic acid-induced programmed cell death (AA-PCD) takes place in yeast, we investigated both cytochrome c release from yeast mitochondria and mitochondrial coupling over the time course of AA-PCD. We show that the majority of cytochrome c release occurs early in AA-PCD from intact coupled mitochondria which undergo only gradual impairment. The released cytochrome c can be reduced both by ascorbate and by superoxide anion and in turn be oxidized via cytochrome c oxidase, thus working both as a ROS scavenger and a respiratory substrate. Late in AA-PCD, the released cytochrome c is degraded.
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